Boulder County Parks & Open Space typically holds an annual awards ceremony to recognize outstanding contributions by individuals and groups. Because of the pandemic, we were unable to hold an in-person event in 2020, but we hope to recognize these winners along with 2021 recipients at a live awards ceremony in the near future.
Here are highlights about this year’s award winners for the conservation, preservation, and protection of land-based environmental resources:
Land Conservation Award honors individuals, families, and organizations whose contributions demonstrate notable achievements in preserving Boulder County’s agricultural lands. Paul Lev-Ary donated approximately two acres of land to Boulder County to help to increase the number of parking spaces from five to 29 at the Anne U. White trailhead after the area was demolished in the floods of September 2013. His donation greatly increased public access to the area, allowing for a much better park visitor experience.
Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes individuals, families, or organizations that make significant contributions in land protection and/or management. After completing construction of their single-family home on their 40-acre property just northwest of Hygiene, Diane and Lowell Dodge restored the land around the construction site and then implemented an ecological enhancement plan. A portion of their property was originally placed under a conservation easement in 1982, and the remainder of the land was conserved in 2013. The goal of the ecological enhancement plan is to preserve the existing ecological wildlife habitats, create new habitats, and improve the overall ecological functions and diversity on their property. They continue to be involved in increasing public awareness about the local and greater-ecosystem benefits of enhancing pollinator habitat on one’s own property.
Outstanding Volunteer Awards honors individuals whose leadership and support of the Parks & Open Space volunteer programs have enhanced our community partnerships and improved public service. This year, there were two recipients.
Gedeon Lafarge received the Outstanding Volunteer Award for his contributions as a Left Hand Outdoor Challenge (LHOC) mentor. Since 2015, Lafarge has been a teen mentor with the program that aims to inspire the next generation of stewards of Boulder County. Lafarge plays a crucial role in the program by helping to keep the participants focused and engaged, while also having fun. He has mentored more than 100 teen participants over the past five years and has also been a member of the Volunteer Ranger Corps. Lafarge embodies “the giver” in all he does.
Rob Alexander has contributed to Colorado State University Extension for more than 20 years as a member of the Extension Advisory Board, a 4-H volunteer, and contributor to numerous Extension Services workshops and events. He has also served as a presenter and trainer for the Small Acreage Management program, training volunteers on seeding/reseeding pastures, grazing management, and agriculture programs. Alexander recently agreed to be the co-chair of the Extension Advisory Board. His knowledge and experience in Boulder County agriculture is unparalleled, and the county has benefited greatly from his dedication to land conservation, his willingness to lead when called upon, and his consistently agreeable nature.